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Holiday Tips & Recommendations for Allergies

Holiday Tips & Recommendations for Allergies

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Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Shuba Iyengar
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Dr. Shuba Iyengar
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Shuba completed medical school at Duke University, earning her MPH in tandem at UNC. After a research fellowship at the NIH, Shuba completed her residency at Stanford, then fellowship in allergy-immunology at Boston Childrens/Harvard.

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of year with plenty of food, drinks, parties, gifts, and more to go around! Keep the holiday cheer going and prevent any seasonal  allergy flare-ups this holiday season. 

Whether you have food allergies or environmental allergies, we’re here to give you our best holiday tips and recommendations for your allergies. Don’t let allergy symptoms don’t ruin the merriest time of year. 

  

Holiday Travel Tips for Allergies

The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year for traveling. Whether you are taking a road trip or are flying to attend the big family holiday meal, here are a few great recommendations to avoid an allergy flare. 

 

Food Allergies On the Go

With traveling comes eating out at restaurants, snacks from gas stations, and a whole lot of food you probably didn’t make. If you have severe food allergies, or even just don’t react well to certain foods, it’s a good idea to look at food labels or ask the chef about potential allergens. 

Opt for meals or snacks on the go that are packaged, so you can read the ingredient labels. Make sure that the ingredient list does not contain anything that might give you an allergic reaction. 

When pre-packaged foods are not an option, choose a simple dish and ask the chef to see if there are any ingredients that you might be allergic to. For instance, a sweet potato casserole may have a hidden ingredient, like almond butter, which can cause a reaction if you are tree nut allergic.   

Most restaurants offer alternatives to the common food allergens. However, if you have a unique food allergen, you should consider packing a cooler with safe meals and snacks. 

 

Always Carry Your Allergy Medication

When traveling, it’s easy to misplace things, especially your allergy medication. You could have left it at home or in a hotel room, packed it in lost luggage, or any of the other things that can go wrong on a trip. 

For one, when you are flying, always pack your medications for any medical condition in a carry-on bag that stays with you. Secondly, pack your allergy medications first, that way you know you aren’t leaving them at home. Finally, before you leave a hotel, Airbnb, or wherever you are staying, do an ‘essentials check’. Don’t just run through a mental list, make a list in your phone and check off all items as your are putting them  in your bag. 

If you have multiple different allergy medications to pack, consider going with Allermi, a game-changing nasal spray for allergies with multiple allergy medications in one easy-to-carry bottle. 

Additionally, these things apply to the allergy medications you don’t use on a daily basis. You might not have ever used your epinephrine auto-injector pen, but in the chaos of the season, accidents can happen. You do not want to have an allergic reaction and find out that it’s not with you. 

  

Look at The Pollen Count

Although you may be familiar with pollens in your area  that plague you, the pollen levels at the destination where you are going may be higher. To ensure you don’t end up walking into a disaster, be sure to check the pollen counts at your destination. 

 

Holiday Gatherings Allergy Tips

Going to a holiday party or holiday dinner? Here are some ways to avoid accidental exposure to the allergens that plague you. 

 

Bring a Safe Food

For any holiday party or holiday gatherings where food will be served, bring a safe dish. Meaning you should bring something you know you can eat, because the host may not be familiar with your food allergies. Not only will it be nice to contribute, but if everything there has something you are allergic to, you’ll still have something to eat. 

 

Ask About Allergens

Pollen isn’t the only trigger of environmental allergies. It can be caused by dust mites, pet dander, and more. Before you attend a holiday meal or event at someone else’s house, ask about the allergens you are sensitive to. If you are allergic to pet dander, ensure they don’t have any pets. 

It may seem rude, but asking in a congenial way is always good idea.  You do not want and allergy attack to ruin the holiday cheer.

 

Host Guests at Your Place

Another option to avoid an allergy flare-up is to simply host the guests at your own home. This way, you can still see everyone without worrying about your allergies. Your home likely operates around your allergies, so having guests come to you is a safe choice.

 

Holiday Gifts to Avoid Allergy Flare-ups

Buying holiday gifts for people with allergies? Or do you not know if they have allergies or not? Here are three things to ensure your gift is something they can use. 

 

Avoid Edible Gifts

Whether you have allergies or not, it’s likely that someone in your family, friend group, or workplace does. During the holidays, there are all kinds of people we want to get gifts for, but you may not know about their allergies. 

Consider avoiding edible gifts. Though edible gifts might be safe if you choose things without common allergens (like tree nuts, dairy, wheat, or shellfish), it’s still possible that they might have a food allergen you are not familiar with.

 

Consider Items that Help Allergies

If you do know that someone has environmental allergies or food allergies, you may consider giving a gift that helps them. An air purifier is a great choice for those allergic to dust mites, while a gluten detector may be perfect for someone with celiac or a gluten sensitivity . 

 

Don’t Contribute to Environmental Allergies

Like you shouldn’t give edible gifts, things that contribute to environmental allergies are also a no-go. For instance, many people are allergic to candles or scents which are popular gifts. Think ahead before giving a gift!

 

Deck the Halls with Allergy-Friendly Decorations

Fresh wreaths, trees and boughs can definitely add a festive touch to your home during the holidays. However, they may also be hiding microscopic mold spores that can trigger an allergic reaction. If you're not keen on using fake decorations, try hosing down the greenery before bringing it indoors to reduce the spores.

Artificial decorations and other trinkets can collect dust and mold while stored in the basement or attic. To avoid these allergens, consider storing your holiday decorations in sealed, plastic containers. Be sure to avoid using cardboard boxes as they retain moisture and can be a breeding ground for mold.

 

Enjoy the Holiday Season

Allergies may not be the first thing you think of during the holidays, but preparing for them ahead of time can make the difference between spending them sniffling and sneezing, or being happy and healthy. Use these tips and recommendations to keep this holiday season allergy free.